Click here for printable PDF file of major application.

Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies is an individually designed interdisciplinary major.  The program uses an intersectional analysis which embeds gender within a complex web of interlocking social formations including gender, race/nationality/ethnicity, class and sexuality.  Students have the option of focusing their course work around a particular theme.  We encourage students to explore internships, independent studies, honors, and other educational opportunities in order to craft their own program to best suit their interests.  Advising is central to the major; in addition to staff advisors each student has their own faculty sponsor.


  1. If you are interested in a Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major, talk with one of the advisors in the office and/or a faculty member (208 Bartlett, 545-1922).  In addition to the staff advisors, each major has a faculty sponsor to guide their academic program.  Program staff or faculty assist students in choosing an appropriate sponsor.
  2. Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies maintains an open admissions policy, but requires: a completed application form (attached) that outlines your intended course of study and is signed by your sponsor, and attendance at an orientation session. 
  3. Talk with an advisor in the office to choose a sponsor.  Meet with the faculty member to discuss your program and have them sign your application.  Leave a copy of the form with your sponsor for their future reference.
  4. Get  your paperwork in as early as possible.  We suggest by October 31st in the fall and April 1st in the spring.   
  5. After your paperwork has been submitted to the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies office, you must process a University change of major form to make the change official on your record (SPIRE).    After Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies has signed your forms, you must sign out of your old major and deliver the fully signed change of major form to the Registrar’s Office in Whitmore.  If you are given your academic folder from your old major, bring it to 208 Bartlett Hall.  If you are double majoring, see the Chief Undergraduate Advisors of both programs.



University Requirements:   Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies majors must fulfill the University graduation requirements of 120 credits, complete the General Education requirements, including 45 credits in residence, and maintain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 as well as a 2.0 in the major.

College Requirements:  Students must also fulfill College of Humanities and Fine Arts requirements, including a foreign language requirement.  See one of the advisors for the most up to date version of the requirements or pick them up in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Dean’s Office in E20 Machmer.

Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Requirements: Majors must take 36 Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies credits.

WOMENSST 301 or WOMENSST 394H  (usually offered fall semester)
2 courses on Women of Color
1 course on Women of Color in the U.S.  and
1 course on Women of Color outside the U.S. – this includes courses that take a diasporan or global approach
(The junior year writing requirement--WOMENSST 391W, (offered each fall)-
**WOMENSST 394H can fulfill the theory requirement or a Women of Color requirement, but not both.

*In addition to the 5 required courses (usually totaling 15-17 credits), students need 20 additional credits to complete the major.  If your major has a theme your theme should be clearly described in your application.   If you change your focus later in the program, submit a new application spelling out the new focus.  Courses must be above a 100-level to count towards the major, with the exception of WOMENSST 187.  Component courses and skills courses must be documented.

The elective credits can be earned in any one of the following ways:

Skills Courses are courses the student must take to learn a specific skill or master a body of knowledge that is part of their course of study.  Skills courses may be counted towards the major.  For example, a student whose focus is women and labor relations can use a course on Labor Law from the Labor Center to fulfill credits towards her major regardless of whether the class focuses on women.  There is a limit of 12  credits that can be earned in this fashion.  Skills credit must be requested in writing on the application. 

At the end of your program you must fill out an end-of-program (EOP) report form, have it signed by your sponsor, and submit to the office. The report includes a list of all courses counting towards the 36 credits, and feedback on your academic program overall.  Contact the office for a copy.  You will not be cleared for graduation until the EOP form is in!

To find out how to count other types of courses, or about course waivers, request a copy of “Waiver and Substitution Procedures for Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.”


  1. Students are responsible for ongoing sponsor contact, meeting with the sponsor at least once a semester, preferably to plan the coming semester.
  2. There is a maximum of 15 credits of independent work that can be applied to the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major.  All independent studies, internships, and other special projects are considered "independent work." Thus all credits earned under course numbers 296, 396, 496, 298, 398, and 498 are subject to this limitation.  Credits earned over the 15 limit maximum can count towards graduation, but not towards the 36 credits needed for the major.  In addition, the University has a limit of 18 practicum credits from all departments (198, 298, 398, 498) that can be counted towards graduation.



  1. We encourage students to include field work and independent study as part of their course of study.  A member of the staff is available for consultation about possible field work placements.  Women's Studies graduates continually tell us field work was a very important experience both as a way to make connections between experience and the classroom and as a way to test possible career interests.
  2. Honors options are available.   See the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies honors coordinator for more information.
  3. We suggest that students distribute their work evenly over four semesters with only three Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses per semester.  Our experience has been that more than three of our courses in one semester may be difficult for students.

Student Involvement in the Program

The Program is always open to student suggestions. The Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Executive Committee,  the decision making body for the program, includes 2 undergraduate student representatives as well as graduate student representatives, faculty, adjunct faculty and staff.

Revised 10/8/2009